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Xylitol, sugar substitute found in a variety of sugar-free and dietetic cookies, mints and chewing gum is proving highly toxic, even fatal, to snack-snatching dogs. Even in small quantities, xylitol can cause a reaction that drops a dog’s blood glucose to dangerous levels. Within about 30 minutes of ingestion, affected dogs become weak and wobbly and, depending on the dose, could progress to seizures, coma and death from low blood sugar. As few as two or three sticks of xylitol gum could be toxic to a small dog.
Right now, xylitol is used mostly in cookies, candies, cupcakes and other sweets developed for people who have diabetes. It’s also sold in bags of crystals for baking. Because of its bacteria-killing properties, it is put into some oral care products, including Tom’s All Natural and Biotene toothpastes. It also is beginning to be used in a broad assortment of products intended for the general public. Among them: Jello sugar-free puddings and a wide variety of sugar-free gums, including Trident, Orbit, Stride, Icebreakers and Altoids.

If you suspect your dog has ingested a product containing Xylitol, contact your vetrinarian and/or the Animal Poision Control Center at 888.426.4435 right away.